by Royanni Miel M. Hontucan
Silliman University is socially acclaimed for giving the best accommodation to international students. That goes with the fact that its population as of this year is over 300. We are indeed lucky to have given the opportunity to embrace such democracy being exercised—ranging from the no-uniform rule, to the acceptance of diversity of religion. Just imagine how colorful the interactions we can have with students from all over the world.
“It’s fun here in the Philippines. People are so warm in welcoming some people who come from a different culture.” Adesoyejo Yetuude from Nigeria, who is currently taking up BBA Management, stated her appreciation for the Philippines in the simplest yet warmest compliment heard by the ears of any Filipino. Also, the environment plays an important role why international students are drawn to study here, as what Myung Jin Cho said. Cho is from South Korea and is taking up Physical Therapy. She said: “The first time I came here, I really liked it because of its natural beauty…like the bay view and landscapes. I find the people here very friendly and cheerful every time but sometimes some things get messy but I think I’m [sic] adjusted to it right now.”
Any foreigner who has experienced Filipino hospitality will surely spread the word of its legendary qualities. Laura Lim L. Coosemans, from Belgium and a current BSMT student said: “People are very welcoming and friendly. Philippines is a beautiful country with its multitude of foreign attractions and its natural resources bound everywhere. The culture is great, as well.” Another foreigner who hails from Australia named Elana Joy Bartlett, an AB Political Science student said: “The Philippines is diverse. There are different cultures that are interesting and everyone seems to be so warm to us.”
Ali Eftekhari from Iran and a student from the Graduate School agreed. She said: “People in Dumaguete are fast learners and are interesting. Studying the English language here became comfortable as well. At home, we only speak Persian but in here, I have to practice English to communicate so it’s great to exercise my proficiency on it through talking to people.”
Truly, the university is bound with so many students who come from different backgrounds, cultures, races and religions. We are naturally diverse in all aspects of our everyday life not just because we’re Sillimanians, not just because we’re united through the four-walled classrooms that enclose us for hours and not just because of our perfectly insane mainstream longing for eating cheesebread but because whoever we are and from whatever place we came from, we will always be welcomed by each other and accepted as being just ourselves with the same pride as being Sillimanians.